The 4th International Symposium on Tonal Aspects of Languages

Nijmegen, The Netherlands
May 13-16, 2014

Four versus Five: The Number of Tones in Tenyidie

Savio Megolhuto Meyase

The English and Foreign Languages University. Hyderabad. India

Abstract (abridged). Tenyidie. also known as the Anganii language, is a Tibeto-Bunnan language spoken in the Kohima district of Nagaland. Unlike most of the languages in this family, which have two or at the most three level tones, it has four level tones.
   In this study, we report on two aspects of the tones in Tenyidie - first, the categorisation of the tones in the language: and then, we go on to motivate a phonological representation for the phonetically non-distinct fifth tone.
   Observing the pattern of alternations in morphological derivations, it could be difficult to explain why while h and H generate an L tone on the following suffix and M and L generate an M tone for the same set of data, in another set. h and M generate an h tone on the suffix and H and L generate an H tone.
   Based on Yip (2002). we show how the morphophonemic alternation can be explained as a consequence of a two tier structure, as:
      ±Upper
      |
      ±raised
Finally, turning to the other issue concerning the number of tones in Tenyidie. though phonetic studies point to the language having only four tones, grammarians of Tenyidie claim that there are five, capturing native speakers' intuition. We extend our phonological analysis to the fifth tone arguing for a bi-tonal representation basing our analysis on the same set of moiphophonemic alternation. The fifth tone is observed as a tone which is phonetically High but has the property of Mid. Iudex Terms: tone, phonology, representation. Tenyidie. Anganii. Naga. Tibeto-Burman.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Meyase, Savio Megolhuto (2014): "Four versus five: the number of tones in Tenyidie", In TAL-2014, 19-22.